25 Animals That Start With 'N'

With over 1.5 million different species living on our planet, there is no shortage of interesting ways to categorize them into groups. Most of the unique creatures on the following list are not closely related, except for the fact they are all animals that start with "n."

10 Animals Beginning With the Letter 'N'

Animals that start with "n" range between several species, sizes and regions — from aquatic insects and freshwater fish in Central America to large mammals grazing vast plains of Sub-Saharan Africa.

1. Naked Mole Rat

The naked mole rat is a testament to the fact that animals don't have to win beauty contests to survive. This pink, hairless rodent is one of the few mammals that is almost entirely cold-blooded. This trait helps them survive in the underground burrows they build to protect tight-knit social units.

2. Netherland Dwarf Rabbit

Arguably one of the cutest critters on this list, the Netherland dwarf rabbit is the smallest domesticated bunny breed in the world. These dwarf rabbits were almost pushed to extinction during World War II, but they made a comeback in the late 20th century.

3. Newt

This semiaquatic member of the salamander family spends most of its time on land but finds refuge during the breeding season near stagnant ponds and swamps. Newts have the ability to differentiate, meaning they can lose injured limbs and tails to regrow new appendages in their place.

4. Nilgai

Nilgai means "blue cow" in Hindi. Although the nilgai (aka blue bull) is not a member of the cow family, it shares a similar sacred cattle status on the Indian subcontinent. The blue bull is actually the largest Asian antelope species, presenting a horse-like body with a small, deer-like head.

5. Nile Crocodile

The Nile crocodile is a formidable predator of various African waterways. Although this crocodilian species primarily feeds on brackish water fish, it is equipped with strong jaws and sharp teeth that can latch onto much larger mammals with a bite strength of 5000-psi.

6. Noolbenger

The noolbenger (aka honey possum) only eats nectar, so it is heavily dependent on hyperspecific regions of Southern Australia where wildflowers grow year-round. These tiny Australian marsupials have prehensile tails that help them climb small limbs to collect flower nectar with hummingbird-like tongues.

7. Nudibranch

Nudibranch is a subgroup of the Opisthobranchia sea slug family but may not be directly related to other colorful sea slugs due to these aquatic invertebrate animals' complex taxonomy. Regardless, they share many traits with their cousins, including bright, multicolored bodies with asymmetrical features.

8. Numbray

The Numbray (aka spottail sleeper ray) is an electric ray that depends on its flat, slender body and earth-toned skin to blend in with its environment and sneak up on tiny fish and slow-moving invertebrates. Once within striking distance, the numbray will shock and stun its prey.

9. Nurse Shark

With a name like Nurse Shark, you may expect these slow-moving bottom feeders to be docile enough to swim lazily up to scuba divers exploring coral reefs without incident but don't let the name fool you. Although humans are likely to blame for most encounters, the nurse shark is ranked fourth in documented bites.

10. Nutria

This South American aquatic rodent makes its home in burrows along rivers and streams. Although a nutria's diet is comprised of mostly aquatic plants, its insatiable appetite has put it high on the invasive species list in North and South America. It is the only member of the Myocastor genus, now included in the spiny rat family.

5 Endangered Species That Start With 'N'

No animal list would be complete without highlighting many of the endangered species that need the most attention. Here are some animals that start with "N" that require extreme protection.

1. Napu

The napu (aka greater mouse deer) is an even-toed ungulate endemic to tropical forests and mangrove thickets in Southeast Asia. They are common in Sumatra, Borneo and smaller Indonesian islands. They were believed to be extinct in Singapore until specimens were found on a remote island in 2008.

2. Narbelek

Known by its more common name, the little rock wallaby, the narbelek is one of the most challenging Australian marsupial species to study.

Part of the challenge stems from their remote habitat in Northern Australia, but they are often mislabeled since they resemble young males from medium-sized species of Australian marsupial.

3. Nautilus

Nautilus is one of those one-word animal names you've probably heard used more frequently for large ships. However, the nautilus remains one of the most unique creatures living in the sea today. These "living fossils" have remained unchanged for hundreds of millions of years but now face extinction.

4. Nene

The nene, common name "Hawaiian goose," is the official state bird of Hawaii. The endangered Hawaiian goose population is believed to have dipped below 4,000 in recent years, making it the rarest goose species in the world.

5. New Guinea Singing Dog

The New Guinea singing dog was believed to have gone extinct in the 1970s until a pack was discovered hunting in remote highlands in 2018. They are called singing dogs due to their unique vocalizations, and researchers speculate that they may be one of the oldest species of dogs still alive.

10 'Northern' Species of the Animal Kingdom

If your trivia team is ever asked to list animals beginning with "n," here is a list of some of the most memorable species in the "Northern" animal kingdom.

1. Northern Alligator Lizard

The slender body of the northern alligator lizard is topped with green and yellowish-brown keeled scales that help it blend into its environment. This camouflage, resembling dead leaves and tree bark, is helpful when tracking down its broad diet of crickets, slugs, beetles and spiders.

2. Northern Brownbul

This East African song bird is renowned for its unique, babbling vocalizations. The northern brownbul is a member of the bulbul family that can thrive in diverse dry climates between savannas and arid, subtropical forests.

3. Northern Cardinal

Any field guide with an animal picture collage on the front cover will likely star this brilliant red bird front and center. Northern cardinal females are typically brown with a light crest of red feathers, but the males sport a blazing rouge coat to catch the eyes of potential mates.

4. Northern Fur Seal

These fluffy "sea dogs" typically hunt in the open ocean, but you'll often find large colonies lazily sunbathing on rocky beaches. The northern fur seal was once hunted at sea and harvested on land for their pelts until they fell under the Marine Mammal Protection Act in 1972.

5. North Island Brown Kiwi

Kiwis are large, flightless birds endemic to New Zealand, and the North Island brown kiwi is one of the smallest of this nocturnal bird group. These unique nocturnal birds hold the world record for laying the largest egg compared to its body size.

6. Northern Inuit Dog

Northern Inuit dogs are the product of a 1980s British breeding program that aimed to develop a wolf-like canine with a gentle temperament. These dogs are typically a cross between Alaskan Malamutes, German Shepherds, Siberian Huskies and Samoyeds.

7. Northern Lapwing

This Eurasian song bird has a broad migratory range from Northern Africa to Eastern Asia. Like most birds that fall under the "wader" group, Northern lapwings spend their breeding season in cultivated land around short vegetation, leaving only to find food on the shoreline.

8. Northern Pintail

This majestic duck species has webbed feet that help it navigate wetlands where it harvests aquatic plants and invertebrates. The Northern pintail rarely engages in nocturnal habits except during migration when they travel at night at speeds up to 48 mph (78 km/h).

9. Northern Right Whale Dolphin

The northern right whale dolphin is one of the most athletic animals to witness in the wild. These thinly shaped dolphins are designed for quickly hunting small fish and squid, topping out at speeds of 25 mph (40 km/h). They can dive up to 600 feet (182 m) deep and soar above the ocean in long, arching jumps.

10. Northern Water Snake

The Northern water snake, also called the common watersnake, is often mistaken for a copperhead due to their similar colorings and markings. However, northern watersnakes are nonvenomous and instead hunt for small fish and amphibians near slow-moving streams and seasonal pools.

Now That's Interesting

Scientists use several keystone species as indicators of ecological health. As climate change alters environments worldwide, the declining health of amphibians, birds, and fish can be some of the first signs of changing conditions. For example, researchers have found that nightfish of Western Australia have been facing several challenges surrounding an ongoing battle with invasive species of European freshwater fish, including rainbow trout and freshwater perch. Since nightfish are only found in small areas, drying habitats and increased river salination have pushed these freshwater fish into a corner, forcing them to battle opposing species for remaining resources.

Original article: 25 Animals That Start With 'N'

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